8 January 2013

Kenya: Cord to Abandon Joint Nominations for All Seats

CORD is today expected to abandon the proposed joint nomination system following mounting pressure from its affiliate parties.

Presidential candidate Raila Odinga, his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka and proposed Leader of Majority Moses Wetang'ula are are due to meet this morning to review the situation and listen to grievances raised by ODM, Wiper, Ford Kenya and seven other parties in the coalition agreement.

Kalonzo and Wetang'ula were due to fly back from abroad last night. "The pressure is too much and is threatening to split the coalition. If we allow it, then our competitors will benefit so we have no choice but give in. We will go our separate ways but support Raila," said an inside source at CORD.

CORD's executive board has called a crisis meeting this morning to review events and recommend the way forward to the three principals.

If all parties field their own candidates, Raila may end up not having enough MPs, Senators and governors on the CORD ticket to push through the reforms he has promised.

CORD's National Election Board chairman Franklin Bett said yesterday that the executive board will discuss logistics and how to handle the nominations without compromising the presidential vote. "We want to deliberate on all this issues and agree on a unified way forward because we do not have time," said Bett.

Various parties and the CORD coalition want to undertake their own nominations although they will all support Raila for the presidency.

Yesterday Ford Kenya became the latest party to reject the proposal for joint nominations which would mean that CORD would field a single candidate for each seat.

Speaking at the party headquarters in Nairobi, Ford Kenya Secretary General Eseli Simiyu said the party will not accept joint nominations where it has a strong presence.

"The statement that was issued on joint nominations was not a blanket statement for everywhere in the country. It was supposed to apply to certain areas in the country," he asserted.

Chama Cha Uzalendo, The Independent Party, Peoples Democratic Party and five other parties on Sunday argued that joint nominations will lock out their candidates.

"If they want us to walk out from the alliance, they should forget and from today we will deal directly with the Prime Minister and Vice President on this issue," said CCU leader Wavinya Ndeti.

However CORD chairman Dalmas Otieno yesterday insisted that the joint nomination process was still on. In a statement sent to newsrooms, Otieno and co-chairman David Musila said that each successful candidate would be issued with a certificate of nomination by his or her sponsoring partner party.

"For avoidance of doubt, the names of all candidates for each position shall appear in one common ballot paper clearly indicating the name and symbol of sponsoring partner party," the statement indicated.

The nominations shall be for the positions of Governor, Senator, Women Representatives, Member of the National Assembly and Member of the County Assembly in their respective member parties.

"Polling stations shall be published by the CORD elections board not later than seven days before the nominations," the statement pointed out.

Education minister Mutula Kilonzo also defended the joint nomination proposal. "Joint nominations will only be in areas were all parties in the alliance are unpopular. Wiper cannot field a candidate in Bondo or Sirisia neither can ODM in Makueni," he said.

He said that such areas will be zoned and the alliance will agree on how to share out posts. "You cannot have a president and a deputy president in the next government with limited support in both houses. It would be disastrous. Raila and Kalonzo have both been in politics for a long time. It would be unfortunate if we elect them without support to implement their policies for this country," Mutula added.

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